Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Climbing and Pregnancy: Spring - Summer 2011

In September 2010,  I was at the top of my game.  Andrew and I took a month-long trip to France and Spain to check out Ceuse, Mallorca, Rodellar, and Siurana.  Being a slave to a desk at that point in my life, a whole month dedicated only to climbing did wonders to my fitness level, and I was able to walk away from that trip bagging my very first (and to date, only) 7c+/5.13a.  Then, I got pregnant. 

Being that I had never been pregnant before, I had no idea what to expect.  And more importantly, I had no idea what to expect in terms of my climbing.  Which was worrisome.  I had heard all sorts of things from all sorts of pregnancy "experts" (with qualifications ranging from having been pregnant before to having an MD in obstetrics) stating from the vastly conservative end that jostling your baby around during any stage of pregnancy could cause miscarriage, to the much more liberal end of the spectrum that you could continue with your standard activities as long as you felt okay about it.  Being that the latter advice was given by a good friend who was also a midwife, I took this advice to heart.  That being said, I did take some precautions.  For example, after the three month mark, I stopped skydiving.  This was more a combination of the morning sickness that would always seem to strike on the flight up to altitude, mixed with a growing anxiety about the intense fuel fumes I was exposing my walnut-sized baby to.  Needless to say, by the three month mark, skydiving didn't seem to be the right thing to be doing anymore.  So I hung up the wingsuit.

Climbing, however, was a different story entirely.  I had utterly no desire to stop climbing. And after consulting with my friend the midwife as well as my OB, I was given the green light free and clear to climb as long as I wanted.  So climb I did.  Following guidance I received from Carrie Cooper's blog, I set some short-term and long-term climbing goals.  Short-term I wanted to continue climbing a minimum of three times each week, doing between 7-9 routes each session.  Long-term, I wanted to be able to climb 5.11a until the day I decided I was too uncomfortable/anxious/whatever to keep climbing. 

Long story short, I was able to achieve both goals pretty honorably.  Month after month, I watched my belly grow and wondered at what point in my pregnancy I would stop climbing.  Yet month after month, I kept feeling surprisingly good about continuing to climb.  So I did.  Amazingly, I ended up being able to climb right up until my due date.  In fact, the baby came a couple days late, so I actually went climbing on my due date.  And amazingly (it was not a graceful by any means), I was able to climb 5.11a.

Cragging at El Cap base, 5 months pregnant

Slabs in Tuolumne, 7 months pregnant

Knobs on Medlicott Dome, 8 months pregnant

The due date!  Note the wide stance to support the extra weight...